Science

Climate Change will Greatly Reduce Seabird Population

 

Sea level rise and climate change are going to negatively affect three pacific island seabird and by the year 2100, they population will rapidly decrease.

The decrease of the three pacific birds will not be attributed directly to the rising tides. Rather, it will be caused by storms that will occur due to higher sea level and climate change. Before the end of 21st century, stronger waves are expected to destroy nesting sites and displace many birds, according to study that is published in PLos One.

The research –conducted by the U.S Geological Survey- studied 13 sea bird species that have their habitant on Pacific Islands. Although all those sea birds will be affected by the climate change, three species will highly be affected: the Laysan albatross, black-footed albatross and Bonin petrel.

Currently, the Bonin petrel population is about one million. The two albatrosses are both stated as “near concern species”. The number of Laysan species is 1.7 million while that of black-footed albatross is around 129,000.

As sea level rises, the population for all the three birds will drop.  This will be as result of flooding which is expected to displace around 600,000 breeding birds. There are no other breeding sites for those birds. Consequently, displacement and reduced reproductive success will endanger the birds’ potential for survival.

The destructive role will not only be played by natural landscape but also unnatural components. The study predicts that a two meters sea level rise will make low-level habitant unfriendly. The birds will not move to the higher grounds since feral cats and bird-eating predators are already there.

Michelle Renolds, a lead researcher in the USGS, said that it was surprising that the most abundant species would be the most affected by the rising sea level. She and her colleagues advise that it is the most appropriate time for people to start planning for climate change effects. This can be done by killing all the seabird predators in order to ensure that the Pacific island birds have a place to live when flooding come knocking.